“I’m a Swede, I never buy potatoes in Ireland.”
So ran the subject line of an email I received a while back from a Swedish reader who was clearly very exercised by the all-too-frequent sight in of potatoes lying exposed to daylight in Irish shops. “Spuds should be kept in darkness,” he protested, “they develop poisonous solanine in daylight” and he was emphatic about not being prepared to buy potatoes thusly displayed at any price.
And my Scandinavian correspondent, I have to say, had a point.
And lo, exhibit A: Golden Wonders on display
Perhaps unsurprisingly, what with the recent passing of my Da, I am, these days, all about comfort food, seeking solace in sweetness, in soothing, creamy textures, in foods fondly remembered and – somewhat predictably for me – in spuds. Today, that meant a simple gratin, with potatoes poached in milk and baked with crispy skins on top – a dish made in my mother’s kitchen with basic, unfussy ingredients and enjoyed with that most comforting thing of all, family.
It would have to be said that the Germans can really get quite exercised when it comes to the delicacy that is white asparagus. Seriously. This was just one headline that I found in my asparagus-related travels around t’internet:
Motorist beats a woman selling over-priced white asparagus in Berlin.
Ouch. A cautionary tale for anyone considering a career in the roadside asparagus-selling business, that’s for sure.
Just coming into its short season right around now, white asparagus is grown under cover of soil in order to achieve the bleached effect. It is a sweeter and more delicately flavoured cousin to the green spears I’m used to, and was the theme for this month’s Five Star Makeover.
White asparagus, albeit looking rather golden after its makeover